It’s almost my senior year and I haven’t selected a college yet … YIKES! How many should I visit? How many is too many? Below are some ways to help narrow your college choices and select the most appropriate ones to visit.
- Consider cost. If the family hasn’t discussed the dreaded financial aid, now is the time. If you are working on a budget, consider a community college transfer program. Classes can be easily transferable to a four year college and into your desired major. Community colleges are typically the least expensive, then state colleges, next are four year universities and finally private colleges. Remember, private schools are generally twice the price of any four year public university. If it’s not in your budget, don’t allow yourself to fall in love with it. College doesn’t have to put you in severe debt. Shop smart!
- Distance. How far away or close to home do you want to be? If the drive time isn’t a bother, don’t rule out a school that is six to eight hours away. Otherwise, draw a radius from home that you are comfortable with and find out what schools are in your back yard!
- Scheduling visits. Give the admissions office as much information as possible. They need to know what area of study you are considering, be as specific as possible. Keep several dates and times in mind as your first choice may already be booked. Ask each college if they have any “senior” or “junior” only days, often times they are on a weekend which can be more convenient for traveling families. Find out if you will be able to visit with instructors in your area of interest, this may have to be scheduled separately.
Dig around for information about each college. Don’t show up for a tour knowing nothing about the campus. Talk to representatives that come to your high school or attend local college fairs. The more prepared you are, the better impression you will leave with that school.
Ask questions and take notes. If you are set to visit your top four schools, by the end you may be more confused than when you started. Keep the material they give you and take notes. Write down questions to ask as you think of them, then you won’t be racking your brain to remember everything the day of the visit.
These are just a few tips and pointers to get you started in the college selection process. Good luck!